links for 2010-09-26

  • If aliens ever land on Earth there will no longer be any confusion over who will greet them with the news the United Nations is set to appoint an astrophysicist to be their first human contact.

    Mazlan Othman is expected to be tasked with coordinating humanity's response to an extraterrestrial visit, if ever required.

    The 58-year-old Malaysian will tell a conference next week that with the recent discovery of hundreds of planets orbiting around other stars, the detection of alien life is becoming more and more likely.

    (tags: aliens)
  • A group of retired U.S. Air Force officers are set to reveal how extraterrestrial visitors have tampered with American nuclear weapons.

    The six former officers, and one other enlisted man, will break their decades-long silence on the matter at a press conference in Washington on Monday.

    The men are expected to describe the ongoing and disturbing intervention of UFOs at nuclear weapon sites, including examples of how several missiles inexplicably malfunctioned while unidentified disc-shaped object hovered nearby.

    (tags: ufo)
  • Controversial plans to transform a city centre landmark into a hotel have been given the green light.

    Britannia Hotels won planning permission to turn the historic London Road fire station, near Piccadilly, into a 227-bed hotel, restaurant and bar complex.

    But the hotel chain, who own the site, remain at loggerheads with Manchester council who are pushing ahead with plans to force the sale of the Grade II-listed Edwardian property using a compulsory purchase order.

    (tags: manchester)
  • Greater Manchester will bid to be one of the first places in the country to bring eco-friendly electric cars to its streets.

    The region’s council chiefs are to apply for £4m in government funding to install a network of more than 400 plug-in points that allow motorists to charge battery-powered cars. They will seek another £4m to match it from private sector sponsors.

    (tags: transport)
  • Masked robbers viciously attacked an elderly military memorabilia collector in his own home – then stole two automatic rifles.

    The two guns – a Kalashnikov M70A and M16 semi-automatic carbine rifle – have been deactivated and cannot fire live bullets.

    (tags: crime)
  • Back in the late 1960s, Britain had a Ministry of Technology, which had the objective of trying to kick Britain's manufacturing infrastructure into the modern age. As part of that goal, the government built seven Bedford mobile cinemas, to tour the nation's factories, showing films about efficient production techniques.

    They were sold off in 1974, and were taken apart one-by-one until only one remained, which eventually ended up in the hands of vintage cinema enthusiast Ollie Halls and his partner Emma Giffard in 2005. They concocted a plan to restore the machine to its former glory and, in the spirit of its original purpose, bring it bang up to date with the latest technology.

  • Scott Brusaw is working on a project to encapsulate solar panels in high-strength glass capable of standing up to thousands of cars and trucks passing by each day. He estimates that a single parking lot paved with solar panels — even one where cars are parked — could power the big box store it serves, and a cul-de-sac paved with solar panels could take an entire subdivision off the grid even on a cloudy day.
    (tags: solarpower)
  • Meteorologists believe that the area of the Atlantic at risk of strong hurricanes is expanding due to climate change, after hurricanes Earl and Julia became the strongest on record so far north and east, respectively.
    (tags: ClimateChange)
  • Bicycle designers from Hungary have revealed the Stringbike in Padova, Italy, a bike design that drops the common chain in favour of a wire and pulley system.
    (tags: bike)
  • They may look like something from the days of the Second World War, but barrage balloons have found a new, high-tech role helping British troops in Afghanistan.

    The 60ft-long drones are being deployed as hugely effective ‘spies in the sky’ to snare Taliban fighters before they mount attacks on British troops.

    Bristling with sophisticated cameras, radar and electronic listening devices, the large, unmanned balloons – tethered at over 2,000ft – send live film footage of enemy activity day and night to forward operating bases and eavesdrop on insurgents’ mobile phone and radio calls from several miles away

    (tags: weapons)

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